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The Spanish South African one-eye The Spanish South African one-eye
by Thanos Kalamidas
2010-07-13 07:26:06
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Tears from both sides and Spain is the new holder of the world cup. Holland for the third time returns home with tears while Carlos, the king of Spain prepares shines his uniform to welcome the heroes. In the meantime South Africa ignoring the financial truth is getting ready for another challenge, after the world cup they want the Olympic Games!

But first things first. Spain has won the world cup for the simple reason that Spain is the best team not only in the tournament – we should never forget that the teams that played in South Africa had already played a series of games before qualifying for the final stage. This tournament was the pick of a series of tournaments and games that gone on for two years and it was a great honour for all the sixteen teams and the hundreds of players to be there.

For the ones who have never watched a world cup before this was a grate tournament that had everything. Had excitement like any tournament of that type has, had drama – Diego Maradona offered a lot of it – had goals, had crowds, had the vuvusels and of course had winners and losers. England will remember for long the final 4-1 from Germany but at least they dignified them self with scoring one goal, the Argentineans lost from the same Germany with a clear 4-0. Then it was the sure Brazil going out in final stages and I’m sure many will remember the secretive North Korea and the goalkeeper who congratulated the opposition player who had just scored against North Korea. And these are just the highlights after one month with sometimes three games a day!

But this is not my first world cup. I have seen Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Oleg Blokhin, Peter Shilton, Bobby Moore, Roberto Baggio, Paul Breitner, Jairzinho, Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff to name just a few I remember now including Zinedine Zidane and Lothar Matthaeus from the younger ones. All of them fantastic football players who evoluted football beyond twenty two men in a field running behind a ball. These where football players. Now you might say that there are great names today and there were in this tournament. I absolutely agree. There was Christiano Ronaldo, there was Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard, there was Mesi and there was Thierry Henry; the only problem with them was that they brighten their appearance into gossip magazines and tabloids and had nothing to do with football. I mean the best thing Christiano Ronaldo – the most expensive football player in the world - did during this tournament was that he announced that he became a father! And England definitely played better when Wayne Rooney was worming the bench than when he was inside the filed.

In 2004 when Greece won the European cup everybody accused the Greek national team for bad football because they played the total defensive football. Greek’s answer was that this is the only way for a team like the Greek one to win France or Spain and they were proven right since Greek football has never produced any Christiano Ronaldo or Franz Beckenbauer. There only hope was to play united and defensive. What excuse does Italy, Portugal, Ghana, England, Mexico or Brazil have for playing the same style? This tournament was a tournament of strategic where it was all about winning under any circumstances, sacrificing the joy of the game. The final is the best example. 120 minutes and one goal? 120 minutes and 13 shoots to the goalpost? 120 minutes and 16 yellow cards? In the final Germany-Argentina back in 1986 there were 16 shoots only in the first quarter of the game.

You see that’s the difference with past finals and tournaments. You don’t remember only the winner; you remember the games and the excitement they brought. Would anybody remember after ten years this final? I doubt if anybody will remember that Spain played with Holland. The only thing everybody will know – probably encyclopaedically – is that Spain won the World Cup!

Spain won the world cup and as often said the size of the victory depends on the size of the opponent and in this tournament Spain was the one eye among the blind and it might put a veil to all the celebrations but I really hope in four years Spain will have the chance to prove herself in a better tournament.

Good news from this tournament at least for me was Germany for many reasons. Germany proved that football is a team effect and not individuals’ issue. Unknown players till one month before, most of them very young even to play for the national team with market value probably smaller than Christiano Ronaldo’s shoes brought the team to the third place and they are definitely the favourite in European football for the next four years for the European cup and the next world cup.

The tragedy of this tournament was Diego Maradona. I never thought of him as a fantastic football player, perhaps in his pick he was one of the best but never the best unfortunately with all his theatrics and the really bad couching he destroyed the remains of his reputation. He is definitely responsible for what happened to Argentina and it is pure luck that argentine managed to get to the quarter finals getting a very good and memorable lesson from the unknown players of Germany.

A questionable issue in this tournament will be the referees. There is a lot of talk about the referees and the mistakes they did and this talk has started long time now. The referees make me angry as well with the mistakes they do or better with the mistakes I think they do sitting comfortably on my sofa and watching the game while drinking my beer and eating my pizza. And there is a lot of talk to give more power to observers referees who watch on TV and they can see everything without the pressure of the moment and the running, with close ups and replays. I totally disagree. The referee and his mistakes are element of the game. What the referees see or not see is part of the game and if we take out this part and replace it with a televised observer then why not replace football with a play station console?

Last something I noted in the beginning. This was a successful tournament regarding the organizers and everybody loved to see South Africa coming out united and organizing a global event as one, beyond their tragic past. But this event was unbelievably expensive for a country that still tries to stand up and I really hope it will not happen to the south African’s what happened with the Greeks after the Olympic games when pay time came.

Last and not least, congratulation to Spain and as I said before I’m sure that they will have the chance in the near future to prove that they didn’t take this cup just because they were the one-eye among the blind.


   
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